Mohammed Rustom

Professor Mohammed Rustom

College of the Humanities Professor is a member of a team of distinguished scholars who authored a game-changing book that interprets the Quran.

By Nick Ward

As a member of a five-scholar team led by world-renowned authority of Islamic thought Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Associate Professor in the College of the Humanities at Carleton University Mohammed Rustom is set to release a groundbreaking book entitled The Study Quran: A New Translation with Commentary.

The Study Quran is a new translation and full running commentary upon the Quran that provides a critical understanding of Islam’s sacred text by helping to explain its vast layers of meaning. This project, nearly a decade in the making, is based on over forty classical and modern exegetical sources.

For Rustom, working on The Study Quran has been a remarkable experience:

“It has undoubtedly deepened my appreciation of the commentarial tradition upon Islam’s sacred scripture. Being responsible for a portion of the commentary in the Study Quran, which alone took several years to complete, the project has given me a window into the seriousness and vast knowledge of the great Quran commentators of the past.”

The Study Quran showcases over twelve hundred years of insights on the Quran from some of Islam’s greatest Quranic interpreters, such as Tabari, Baghawi, Maturidi, Tusi, Qurtubi, Baydawi, Tabrisi, Sulami, Razi, Tusi, Qummi, Zamakhshari, Alusi, Maybudi, Kashani, Ibn ‘Ashur, and ‘Allama Tabataba’i. The work also incorporates insights upon the Quran from many key philosophers, mystics, theologians, and poets across the board in the Islamic tradition, namely Avicenna, Ibn Taymiyya, Ghazali, Ibn ‘Arabi, Qadi ‘Abd al-Jabbar, Suhrawardi, Mulla Sadra, ‘Ayn al-Qudat, and Rumi.

What makes The Study Quran particularly significant is that it is designed to be accessible to non-specialists and scholars. Non-specialists will find in this work a helpful resource to understanding each of the Quran’s verses (as well as the various debates surrounding their interpretation); and scholars will find in the commentaries effective summaries of the wide range of commentaries and interpretations of each Quranic verse, thereby saving them the trouble of having to consult numerous exegetical texts when researching a particular verse or cluster of verses. At nearly one million words in length, the commentary upon the Quran, which summarizes its theological, philosophical, spiritual, historical, and linguistic interpretations, is far more extensive than any other commentary available in any European language.

Study Quran sample page

Study Quran sample page

In addition to the commentary and a brand new, highly precise and eloquent translation of the Quran, this single volume also includes fifteen essays on aspects of the Quran and its interpretive traditions by some of the leading scholars in the field. Essay contributors include M. A. S. Abdel Haleem, Ingrid Mattson, Walid Saleh, Hamza Yusuf, Mustafa Muhaqqiq-i Damad (a leading scholar in Iran), and Ahmad al-Tayyib (the former Grand mufti of Egypt and current rector of Al-Azhar University).

Other special features of The Study Quran are its extensive topical indices and detailed topographical maps which are centred around the history of the early Muslim community

Given its comprehensive nature, Rustom believes this project has the potential to do much good.

“In many ways, The Study Quran is both a snapshot of the manner in which Muslims have historically understood the Quran, while also being a contemporary presentation of the Quran and its interpretation. With this latter point in mind, the commentary presented in The Study Quran also has an eye on addressing a variety of pertinent contemporary concerns. Indeed, The Study Quran is a much-needed, scholarly guide in a time when confusion about the Quran and Islam is still so prevalent.”

As can be seen from the endorsements provided below, scholars have been coming out in droves to express their support for The Study Quran.

The Study Quran: A New Translation with Commentary is set to be released by HarperOne on November 17, 2015, with an official book launch in Atlanta at the annual joint-meeting of the American Academy of Religion and the Society for Biblical Literature. There are also a number of events related to The Study Quran which will be taking place throughout North America, including such venues as George Washington University’s Media Center; Politics and Prose, a major local bookstore in DC; College of the Holy Cross; Georgetown University, where the team will be interviewed by CNN and Harvard University.

The Study Quran: A New Translation with Commentary
Edited by Seyyed Hossein Nasr (Editor-in-Chief), Caner Dagli, Maria Dakake, Joseph Lumbard (General Editors), and Mohammed Rustom (Assistant Editor). New York: HarperOne, 2015.

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Professor Mohammed Rustom

Professor Rustom

Professor Rustom

An internationally recognized expert on Islamic philosophy, Sufism, and the Quran, Professor Rustom’s works have been translated into Albanian, Chinese, German, Italian, Persian, Spanish, and Turkish. Currently, he is completing a book on the famous twelfth-century Sufi martyr ‘Ayn al-Qudat Hamadani, as well as a contemporary introduction to Islamic metaphysics.

Professor Rustom’s writings, lectures, and media appearances can be accessed through his website:

Critical Praise for The Study Quran

“The Study Quran is a milestone in Islamic studies. It will become the standard reference for anyone interested in traditional Muslim interpretation of the Quran.” — Carl W. Ernst, William R. Kenan, Jr., Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

“An extraordinary scholarly achievement, The Study Quran brings the text to life, gently guiding readers into the exciting interpretive worlds of Muslims in all of their rich diversity.” — Zareena A Grewal, PhD, Professor of Religious Studies, Yale University

The Study Quran could not be more timely. This painstaking work will do much to enlighten and inform the reading strategies of all who seek to understand the Holy Writ of Islam, especially as it relates to the beliefs and practices of Muslims.” — Sherman A. Jackson, King Faisal Chair of Islamic Thought and Practice, The University of Southern California

“Even the non-Arabist will gain an impression of the way specific verses have been understood. By giving attention to a wide range of commentators the editors capture the diversity and depth of the exegetical ideas that have been brought to the Quran– a useful resource.” — Peter Adamson, Professor of Ancient and Medieval Philosophy at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich and at King’s College London

The Study Quran is truly magisterial and the most comprehensive study of the Quran to date.  In addition to providing an elegant translation, the editors have provided commentaries on the chapters culled from some of the most important exegetical works from the pre-modern and modern periods from a variety of perspectives—a truly herculean endeavor!  Highly recommended as an unparalleled reference work for engaging the Quran in its many different aspects.” — Asma Afsaruddin, Chair of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at Indiana University Bloomington

“A monument of religious literature in its own right, The Study Quran presents the sacred text in a meticulous new English rendering. One of this ambitious project’s greatest strengths is the breadth and variety of exegetical sources and methods that inform the commentary throughout –most impressive.” — John Renard, Professor of Medieval Islam at Saint Louis University

“A stupendous achievement. An indispensable handbook. The Study Quran contains everything readers will need. The translation is lucid and eloquent; the extensive commentaries offer continuous insight; the various essays cover virtually every aspect of the Qur’an a reader needs to know. I cannot praise their collective work enough!” — Eric Ormsby, Formerly Professor of Islamic Philosophy and Theology at McGill University’s Institute of Islamic Studies

“A huge and significant scholarly undertaking, a major service to Islamic studies. This work solves the perennial problem of how to introduce students to the Quranic text, offering what is perhaps the closest one can get to an ecumenical exegesis of the Quran.” — Jonathan Brown, Associate Director, Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim Christian Understanding at Georgetown University

“Nasr and his team have done the English-speaking world an enormous favor with their erudite and profound translation and commentary on the Qur’an combined with essays by some of the most learned scholars on the Qur’an-a timely contribution in a world that has become infected by Islamophobia and intolerance.” — Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl, UCLA School of Law, and author of The Great Theft

“A major milestone for the study of the Qur’an. Elegantly written, the project is ambitious yet amply fulfills its promise. Invaluable for anyone interested in understanding the Qur’an and essential reading for students of the Qur’an at all levels.” — Dr. Michael Sells, Barrows Professor of the History and Literature of Islam, University of Chicago

“This scholarly yet accessible work speaks directly to the tensions and misunderstandings of our gravely polarized world. It should be on the shelves of libraries and universities throughout the English-speaking world. The contributors guide the reader through the intricacies of the sacred text in a way that lays bare the superficiality, selectivity and inaccuracy of some modern interpretations of the Quran at a time when this is sorely needed.” — Karen Armstrong, author of Fields of Blood

“This impressive tome-the fruit of a patient collective venture-offers an extraordinary panoptic survey of the history of tafsir: some forty traditional commentaries-ancient and modern, Sunni and Shi’i-have been summoned here… Special mention is due to the translators of the Qur’an for their often remarkable achievement.” — Dr. Michel Chodkiewicz, author of Seal of the Saints and An Ocean Without Shore

“A stunningly successful collaboration of scholars who have produced a modern masterpiece of clarity and eloquence. Never before in one place has so much Qur’anic scholarship been made accessible to the intelligent general reader.” — Ingrid Mattson, London and Windsor Community Chair in Islamic Studies at Huron University College, University of Western Ontario

“This new English translation conveys the music and meaning of the Arabic. That it is accompanied by a learned commentary distilled from the highly varied classical, modern and contemporary exegetical traditions provides unparalleled access to a uniquely influential yet understudied scripture sacred to one out of four human beings.” — Todd Lawson, Professor of Islamic Thought, University of Toronto

The Study Quran is a well-guided tour. The work of the editors is uniformly meticulous, comprehensive, and erudite. Whether the reader is a novice to the Quranic text, longtime student, or scholar, they will find much to reflect upon in this extraordinarily valuable resource.” — Kristin Zahra Sands, Harlequin Adair Dammann Chair in Islamic Studies, Sarah Lawrence College

The Study Quran represents a breakthrough for bringing the message of the Quran to the English-speaking world. The translation itself is beautiful, but the commentary truly makes this an indispensable resource for anyone — whether Muslim or non-Muslim — who wishes to appreciate the Quran’s message.” — Mohammad Fadel, Associate Professor of Law, University of Toronto Faculty of Law

The Study Quran is a fascinating and pioneering academic achievement. With analytical depth and clarity, it offers to both specialist and general readers, Muslim and non-Muslim, uniquely learned insights into the reception and interpretation of Islam’s sacred scripture within the various Muslim intellectual and spiritual traditions.” — Sebastian Günther, Professor and Chair of Arabic and Islamic Studies, University of Göttingen, Germany

“A monumental contribution to appreciating the pluralism of interpretations and a landmark achievement that will help both Muslims and non-Muslims appreciate the richness and diversity of understandings of the Quran.” — Shafique N. Virani, Distinguished Professor of Islamic Studies, University of Toronto

“The monumental The Study Quran is a truly indispensable reference. As with every sacred scripture, the meanings of the Quran are mediated by a range of interpretive traditions which have long been accessible only to Muslim scholars. Now a team of editors have provided an impressively accessible synthesis.” — James W. Morris, Dept. of Theology and Islamic Civilization and Societies Program, Boston College

“An invaluable resource that the general reader and students of Islamic disciplines will benefit from. The wealth of detailed information it contains makes The Study Quran a valuable text in understanding the centrality of the Quran and its role in shaping the spiritual and mundane lives of Muslims.” — Liyakat Takim, Sharjah Chair in Global Islam, McMaster University

“The publication of The Study Quran is a joyous occasion for all lovers of scripture: a new English translation that celebrates the dignity and formality of sacred discourse, running commentary, and, as a very special signature, compelling and deeply instructive essays by fifteen of today’s leading scholars on Islam.” — Peter Ochs, Bronfman Professor of Modern Judaic Studies University of Virginia

“A monumental milestone in the study of the Quran in western academia and a veritable touchstone of authenticity for all who are asking: what does the Quran actually say? With clarity and comprehensiveness, the editors and translators of this magnificent volume have helped distinguish the true spirit of Islamic faith.” — Reza Shah-Kazemi, The Institute of Ismaili Studies

The Study Quran is a treasure trove of insights and information. There is nothing quite like it in English: a single volume comprising an accessible translation, a survey of classical commentaries, essays by prominent scholars, informative appendices, and multiple maps. Indeed a massive, unprecedented undertaking.” — Mohammad Hassan Khalil, Director of the Muslim Studies Program, Michigan State University

The Study Quran is a unique work. It provides a clear, readable translation of the Quran and detailed explanations of Quranic ideas and concepts. Its accessibility is likely to gain a large readership. An indispensable Quranic studies resource for scholar and student.” — Mustansir Mir, Youngstown State University

“A work of extraordinary significance, The Study Quran makes accessible in English Islam’s sacred scripture along with an array of material necessary to appreciate the nuances of the text. An invaluable and much needed resource for understanding the Quran. A monumental accomplishment.” — Ali Asani, Professor of Indo-Muslim and Islamic Religion and Cultures and Director of the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Islamic Studies Program, Harvard University

“The Study Quran will remain for many decades to come the key reference work in English for students of Islamic Studies and scholars of religion alike, as well as ordinary readers interested in the spiritual content, historical context and literary monument of the revelation of Islam.” — Dr. Leonard Lewisohn, Senior Lecturer in Persian, University of Exeter, U.K.

“This is perhaps the most important work done on the Islamic faith in the English language to date. We owe a great debt to Dr. Seyyed Hossein Nasr, one of the intellectual giants of our time, and his team for bringing this labour of love to fruition.”  — Hamza Yusuf, Co-Founder of Zaytuna College

“The publication of The Study Quran is an important event in the history of Quranic studies. It will make available in a convenient form the Quranic text along with a clearly written commentary drawing on the main works of tafsir in the Islamic tradition and other related works on the Quranic sciences. It has the advantage of introducing the reader to the topics associated with particular verses in the commentarial tradition, as well as some of the traditional debates surrounding the texts in question. The Study Quran also includes sixteen general essays designed to convey to the reader the various frameworks through which the Quran has been understood historically, including Arabic language, commentary, law, theology, Sufism, and other sciences. Its appearance is thus much more important than the publication of yet another English translation. Along with the Encyclopaedia of the Quran and Rudi Paret’s Kommentar und Konkordanz, it will be an extremely useful work, particularly since it will allow readers who are not Arabists to engage easily with the complex scaffolding of scholarship that has arisen around the Quran.” — Devin Stewart, Associate Professor at Emory University

“‪The Study Quran represents the first in-depth translation and explanation of the Qur’an that draws from the full depth and breadth of the classical Islamic tradition. As a teacher of the Qur’an, I have adopted it as the go to for myself and my students.”—Imam Suhaib Webb, Resident Scholar, Suhaib Webb Institute

Friday, September 4, 2015 in , ,
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